Title: Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl
Setting: Amherst, Massachusetts, 1846
Main character: Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, age 15
"And whom do I have the pleasure of thanking for my gift?"
He started to introduce himself, then seemed to think better of it. "I'm nobody important." He grinned. "Who are you?"
Emily paused. She was the oldest daughter of one of the town fathers and everyone knew her name. ... How dreary to be somebody all the time, she thought. Feeling very mischievous, she said, "I'm nobody too."
Mystery: Emily's young and handsome 'Mr. Nobody' is in town on some unpleasant family business, but he won't tell her what it, or who he, is. Then he turns up dead in her family's pond. Unknown and unnamed, everyone assumes he drowned accidentally. But not Emily. She suspects he was murdered, and she's determined to learn who her Mr. Nobody was, who killed him, and why.
My thoughts: I wish this book were longer; I would have liked to spend more time with this intelligent, fiercely determined, slightly odd, and independent Emily Dickinson. She's always scheming ways to get out of laundry and baking, and scribbling notes and bits of poetry in her notebooks. And she's a pretty good amateur detective, too. With a little help from Vinnie, her younger sister, and despite her mother's objections and overprotectiveness, she manages to piece together the clues of this engaging mystery. I liked her and her poems more after reading this YA novel than I ever have before. In fact, this book makes me want to read more about her life. The author recommends My Wars Are Laid Away: The Life of Emily Dickinson by Alfred Habegger, but since it's over 700 pages, I think I might start with something a little shorter first.